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September 11, 1941

On Sunday, September 11, the United States memorialized those who died and honored those who fought to save the survivors of the terrorist attack on US soil. Many stories were told on the fifteenth anniversary of that horrible day, on which we, as a country, promised to “Never Forget.” Many don’t know that Sunday was also the seventy-fifth anniversary of another event in the history of the United States: On September 11, 1941, in Des Moines, Iowa, the legendary  flying ace Charles A. Lindbergh spoke at the America First Committee Rally against the effort by the Roosevelt Administration to take the United States into the European War.Silhouette fedora

After the death of their baby son and the subsequent “Trial of the Century” (before the O.J. Simpson trial supplanted it), the Lindberghs moved from New Jersey to Liverpool, England to avoid the media frenzy surrounding Charles and his family. Lindbergh and his wife realized while living Europe the evils of communism, and Charles became enamored with the Nazi Germany politics, including their white-race superiority, but particularly their aviation program. Lindbergh said, “Europe, and the entire world, is fortunate that a Nazi Germany lies, at present, between Communistic Russia and a demoralized France. With the extremes of government which now exist, it is more desirable than ever to keep any one of them from sweeping over Europe. But if the choice must be made it cannot be Communism.” Lindbergh believed that the Germans seemed “to have a sincere desire for friendly relations with the United States, but of course that is much less vital to them.”[1] His commentary did not end there, as Lindbergh made several inflammatory speeches and remarks about the heritage of the White European Race and the need to keep it pure.

In the early 1940s, Lindbergh became the figurehead of the America First Committee, which was anti-war. This put him at odds with the Roosevelt Administration, and the FBI began watching Charles Lindbergh. President Roosevelt was desperate to help his friend, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of England, in their war effort against the Nazis. Lindbergh’s hero status kept the United States divided over the effort to enter the European War.

On September 11, 1941, Lindbergh gave one of his most controversial speeches in Des Moines. He stated, “The three most important groups who have been pressing this country toward war are the British, the Jewish, and the Roosevelt administration. Behind these groups, but of lesser importance, are a number of capitalists, Anglophiles, and intellectuals who believe that their future, and the future of mankind, depends upon the domination of the British Empire. . . . These war agitators comprise only a small minority of our people, but they control a tremendous influence. . . . It is not difficult to understand why Jewish people desire the overthrow of Nazi Germany. . . . But no person of honesty and vision can look on their pro-war policy here today without seeing the dangers involved in such a policy, both for us and for them. Instead of agitating for war, the Jewish groups in this country should be opposing it in every possible way, for they will be among the first to feel its consequences.”[2]

How large was the America First anti-war movement? It was so big that car-maker Henry Ford was a major supporter. The anti-war movement grew to an estimated 450 chapters with over 800,000 vocal members throughout the WP_20150308_001country.

As I chronicled in a previous blog, President Roosevelt withheld vital information from the American Public regarding the Japanese plan to attack the United States so that the US would be surprised by the attack. Roosevelt correctly believed the “surprise attack” would swing the public sentiment to enter the war. So effective was Roosevelt’s plan that, several days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the America First Committee disbanded. However, this did not stop Charles Lindbergh from publicly speaking ten days after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, when he said, “There is only one danger in the world—that is the yellow danger. China and Japan are really bound together against the white race. There could only have been one efficient weapon against this alliance . . . Germany. . . . The ideal setup would have been to have Germany take over Poland and Russia, in collaboration with the British, as a block against the yellow people and Bolshevism. But instead, the British and the fools in Washington had to interfere. The British envied the Germans and wanted to rule the world forever. Britain is the real cause of all the trouble in the world today.”[3]

As World War II progressed, Lindbergh tried to get recommissioned in the US Army Air Force, but was denied for obvious reasons. Instead, Lindbergh decided to serve by becoming a part of a private company that fought in the Pacific Theater against the Japanese.

Despite Lindbergh’s racism, he recognized the evils of communism much clearer than the Roosevelt Administration, which was willing to work with the Soviet Union. Because Charles Lindbergh was a brilliant aviator with tremendous engineering insight, he resurrected his career. United States authorities overlooked his vocal positions on the Nazis and his racism, and they enlisted him in the Cold War against the Soviet Union.

In school and on TV today we are taught that Charles Lindbergh was the first man to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, but did you know this other piece of his life story? This history underscores yet another point: The United States population has never completely agreed upon critical issues that determine the fate of our country, dating all the way back to the founding of our country.

[1] Spartacus-Educational Website

[2] Spartacus-Educational Website

[3] Spartacus-Educational Website

Japan Surrenders to End World War II

On Sunday, September 2, 1945, the Japanese Government formally surrendered on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri. The United States was represented by General Douglas MacArthur, while the Japanese government was represented by Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu, and their military was represented by General Yoshijiro Umezu.

Over the final months of World War II, President Truman decided to follow Roosevelt’s plan for reclaiming the defeated Axis Powers, which included sending General Douglas MacArthur to Japan to oversee all developments. This was a difficult decision for Truman, because he had a deep personal dislike for MacArthur. However, Truman believed MacArthur’s selection to be the Supreme Commander of Allied Powers (SCAP) of Japan would be widely accepted in the US, due to his popularity. Therefore, with MacArthur in place, he took a hands-off approach regarding decisions in Japan. The real story was that Truman had as much as he could handle with Europe and the Soviet Union. This action was paramount, as one of Truman’s most important accomplishments was keeping the Soviet Communists out of Japan, which was an everlasting benefit to Japan and the world.Silhouette fedora

At the Potsdam Conference, a declaration was signed by President Truman, British Prime Minister Churchill and Chinese President Chiang, below are some of the key points that Japan had to accept:

  • “The time has come for Japan to decide whether she will continue to be controlled by those self-willed militaristic advisers whose unintelligent calculations have brought the Empire of Japan to the threshold of annihilation, or whether she will follow the path of reason.
  • “There must be eliminated for all time the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest, for we insist that a new order of peace, security and justice will be impossible until irresponsible militarism is driven from the world.
  • “Until such a new order is established and until there is convincing proof that Japan’s war-making power is destroyed, points in Japanese territory to be designated by the Allies shall be occupied to secure the achievement of the basic objectives we are here setting forth.
  • “The Japanese military forces, after being completely disarmed, shall be permitted to return to their homes with the opportunity to lead peaceful and productive lives.
  • “We do not intend that the Japanese shall be enslaved as a race or destroyed as a nation, but stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals, including those who have visited cruelties upon our prisoners. The Japanese Government shall remove all obstacles to the revival and strengthening of democratic tendencies among the Japanese people. Freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought, as well as respect for the fundamental human rights shall be established.
  • “Japan shall be permitted to maintain such industries as will sustain her economy and permit the exaction of just reparations in kind, but not those which would enable her to re-arm for war. To this end, access to, as distinguished from control of, raw materials shall be permitted. Eventual Japanese, participation in world trade relations shall be permitted.
  • “The occupying forces of the Allies shall be withdrawn from Japan as soon as these objectives have been accomplished and there has been established in accordance with the freely expressed will of the Japanese people a peacefully inclined and responsible government.
  • “We call upon the government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all.”

This quotation come from the Potsdam Conference Declaration and is referenced from the website  http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/war.term/093_03.html

These terms were acknowledged as accepted by the Emperor on behalf of the Japanese Government on August 14, 1945.

On August 30, MacArthur had arrived in Tokyo to begin to set up his occupation staff. MacArthur believed he was an not expert on Japan, so one of the first appointments MacArthur made was Frank Schuler, due to his long-standing knowledge of Japan. Schuler had worked in the U.S. Embassy before World War II, and then during the war, he served as a spy in the country. He probably had as much working knowledge of the Japanese as anyone on MacArthur’s staff. However, MacArthur relied heavily upon the advice of his Chief of Intelligence, Major General Charles A. Willoughby, who helped design the occupation plan, with the centerpiece of keeping the emperor in place.

Also on MacArthur’s team were Lieutenant General Robert Eichelberger and Brigadier General Courtney Whitney. Whitney was a lawyer and prepared most of the documentation for MacArthur to execute. Eichelberger was to be in charge of the Eighth Army and supervise the non-political occupation of Japan. MacArthur did not allow the Army’s Office of Strategic Services (OSS) to be involved in his operation; Willoughby was a one-man intelligence team. Although he was knowledgeable of the military conflict, he was not very well connected, thus he could not provide valuable intelligence. An example of this poor intelligence, MacArthur believed that Hirohito was so removed from society that he never used a telephone or delivered a public speech. It is my opinion that MacArthur never wanted the involvement of the Army’s OSS, and this was due to infiltration of communists within the highest levels of the OSS organization, and MacArthur—a control freak—could not control these individuals.MacArthur and Hirohito

The historic meeting between Hirohito and MacArthur came on the morning of September 27. Hirohito was dressed in striped trousers and a morning coat when he reluctantly entered reception room at the refurbished American Embassy. He handed his top hat to an aide and entered General Douglas MacArthur’s office. It was agreed that he should act submissive and humble. Accepting responsibility for the war, he offered to abdicate or do whatever else was necessary, which he did. Yet MacArthur informed him that the United States wanted him to stay in power. If ever a picture was worth a thousand words, it was the image of General MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito standing side by side during their historic first meeting. In it, a casually dressed MacArthur towers over the stiff, formally attired emperor. For millions of Japanese, it brought home in an entirely new way the notion that they had lost the war. Just that day, Hirohito had spent almost three hours discussing his own presentation to MacArthur. MacArthur quickly became very popular with the Japanese people, because the emperor answered to him. Clearly, that picture contributed to the situation.

At the point of surrender, it was up to the Emperor Hirohito and his advisers to keep as much of their Empire as possible, including its political and economic structure. Hirohito believed that, up until the surrender of Germany, they could negotiate to keep the Philippines. On the day, Japan officially surrendered to the United States, the Diet, the Japanese governing body, unofficially ordered that $10 billion US dollars in goods, including banknotes, must be given to key diplomats and elites (essentially their Zabatsu families), to hide from the United States’ occupying force. Paramount to all of their efforts was protection of the emperor’s family and keeping the war-crime prosecution to a minimum. Concurrently, Secretary of War Stimson, Japanese Ambassador Grew, General MacArthur, and General Marshall had to design a plan to keep the emperor, in order to enable the rapid evolution of the Japanese people and their economy. However, they agreed it must be done in such a way as to give Hirohito concern for his future. It is important to note that the United States position was counter to that of their Allies (the British and Australians), who believe that all Japanese who were responsible for the war, including Hirohito, should be punished. One of MacArthur’s main objectives was a peaceful occupation, as they had real concerns about the safety of the US occupying force.WP_20150308_001

On September 3, 1945, a historical event not readily discussed occurred when Yamashita surrendered in the mountains north of Baguio, Luzon, Philippines, under orders from the Japanese government. General Major A.S. “Jack” Kenworthy of the military police made the official arrest of Yamashita, furnished the security and an escort for him as he went down from Baguio to New Bilibid Prison. While this seems like a mere afterthought on the surface, there is much hidden in the surrender of the last full Japanese army unit. In the time period between the dropping of the two atomic bombs and the official surrender, the Japanese Golden Lily team had substantial amounts of gold still to be buried in the Philippines. It was up to Yamashita to continue his guerilla activity as long as possible, so that the gold could be buried. It’s important to note that the final burial was achieved just before the Japanese government advised Yamashita he could surrender.

This year, on the seventieth anniversary of such a monumental event, the news cycle was complete quiet. Why is that? Do you believe, as I do, that these largely unknown historic truths about the Japanese surrender should be discussed openly, even taught in our universities as part of our world’s history? Ask a friend if they’re aware of these facts. If not, I encourage you to share this essay with them. Don’t let our history be lost, like the stolen war gold still hidden somewhere in the mountains of the Philippines.

The Seventieth Anniversary of the Atomic Bomb

August 6, 2015, is the seventieth anniversary of the dropping of the first atom bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, which occurred per the order of United States President Harry S. Truman. Japan refused to surrender, so a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki three days later. World War II ended with that second bomb.

What you’ve just read is what we were taught in school and what we saw on television. The truth, however, is far from being that simple, and the decision-making process was much more stressful than the public was led to believe.Silhouette fedora

Over the past three years, I have been researching for my forthcoming novel about the Soviets spying on the Atomic Bomb Project at Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico. I’ve discovered that few people in the world know the whole story behind the use of the atomic bombs and the behind-the-scenes activities. Today, seventy years later, the United States remains the only country in the history of the world to use atomic weapons. I venture to say that those people believing the use weapons of mass destruction was wrong, would quickly change their minds, if they knew the whole truth.

In advance of the release of my fact-based novel (which by definition is fictional), I’d like to share with you a few snippets of absolute truth that will shed a brief ray of light on the jarring decision making process.

Truman wanted to drop the atomic bomb on a purely military target; however, few valuable targets remained as a result of the fire-bombing campaign. The fire-bomb raids inflicted heavier casualties than either of either atomic bombs, but it created the psychological effect of a single weapon of such explosive force.

The wheels on this locomotion of destruction began five months earlier in April of 1945. On the morning of April 12th, President Franklin D. Roosevelt made one last effort to smooth out his delicate relationship with Stalin, but that afternoon, Roosevelt died, and Vice President Harry S. Truman became President. Up to that point, Truman had rarely seen Roosevelt and was not fully briefed on the War, or on the pending problems with the Soviet Union, or—more importantly—on the Manhattan Project. Truman thus required full briefing as rapidly as possible.

April also brought the invasion of Okinawa, an island on Japan’s doorstep. After two months of bloody land fighting, the stage was set for invasion of Japan’s main islands.

Hirohito believed that the US would ultimately invade mainland Japan, in order to finish off his country. Hirohito planned to detonate two dirty bombs over MacArthur’s mainland invasion fleet; therefore, he prepared a defense plan that would inflict terrible loss on the US army. At this point, he believed the US would negotiate a conditional surrender of Japan.

Japan had purchased uranium from Germany, which was being shipped in a German submarine that left Norway for Japan on April 15, 1945. When Germany surrendered on May 14th, the submarine turned and went to New Hampshire, where it surrendered all of its raw materials and data. Japan believed that, if they had surrendered first, they might have had a better political position for conditional submission. But now the US was ready to finish off Japan and would take nothing less than unconditional surrender. Despite the destruction of most of Japan’s war industry, on June 9, Japanese Premier Suzuki announced that Japan would fight to the very end, rather than accept unconditional surrender.

At the Potsdam Conference, principal allies the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain met to discuss, among other things, ending the war. The chief representatives were President Truman, Premier Stalin, former Prime Minister Churchill, and newly elected Prime Minister Clement Attlee. While there, they formulated the invasion plan for Japan. Part of the invading army would include US Troops, plus Russian and Chinese troops. Naturally, this terrified the Japanese, who feared the ruthlessness of the the Russians and the Chinese, whom they had treated horrifically.

Truman was still at the Potsdam Conference when he received results of the atomic bomb test. He talked at length about the bomb with Churchill and General Eisenhower. Truman did not particular trust nor like Stalin and only mentioned that he had a new weapon that was very destructive. Stalin acted uninterested and replied that he hoped it would finish off the Japanese. My research shows that Stalin was already aware of process by his spies in New York and Los Alamos of the results of the test.

On August 8, Japan tried to persuade the Soviets to mediate surrender negotiations. Soviet Diplomat Molotov canceled the meeting with the Japanese. Because of this, President Truman believed he must move fast, with the likelihood of the Soviets entering the Pacific War to spread Communism. Thus, Hoover decided to drop the second bomb.

August 9th, Stalin announced that the Soviet Union would enter the war against Japan. Simultaneously, the Soviet forces invaded Manchuria and North Korea. That same night, Hirohito met with key staff members to discuss viable options. The morning of August 10, a diplomatic note was sent to Sweden and Switzerland, declaring Japanese surrender under one condition: Hirohito must remain in power.

What was unknown to but a select few US personnel was that the next atomic bomb would not be ready until about August 21st. Secretary of State George Marshall and General Leslie Groves believed two bombs would move the Japanese to surrender. On August 13, Major General John Hull telephoned an officer at The Manhattan Project on behalf of General Marshall, saying that the chief of staff wanted all future bombs reserved for tactical use in Operation Olympic, the invasion of Japan. The Manhattan Project officer estimated that seven bombs would be ready. Seven!

At noon on August 14, in Washington, DC, President Truman met with the Duke of Windsor and British Ambassador John Balfour and told them that the latest Japanese message indicated no acceptance of the surrender terms. He had no alternative but to order the dropping of an atomic bomb on Tokyo. Fortunately, at 4:05 p.m. local time, he learned that the Japanese had indeed surrendered.

On August 14, Emperor Hirohito announced to the people of Japan that they had accepted the Allies’ unconditional surrender. He was afraid that soon the US would use this new weapon on Tokyo. Later in the day, Hirohito contemplated two choices; the first his ritual suicide, and the second to resign in total humiliation.

President Truman saved many US soldier’s lives, as well as the lives of many Japanese. Some believe that he also prevented expansion of Communism into Asia, as well.

Atomic scientists then believed that the ground would be safe to walk on one hour after detonation of the a-bomb. Of course, we now know this is far from the truth, and that the far-reaching fallout of those mushroom clouds exists still today, as evidenced in the abnormally high cancer rate of those exposed to atomic radiation.

I never expected to discover these shocking—even harrowing—facts when I began researching this history that I believed I knew rather well. Digging deep to uncover little-known truths is a writer’s job, however, even when writing fiction. Did it surprise you, as it did me, to learn these facts? Or were you taught these events unadulterated? In light of this information, has your opinion of the incidents changed, and if so, how?WP_20150308_001

I’m interested your opinions! Please share with me in the comment section below any thoughts you may have. Who knows? Something you say, or a question you ask, might influence my forthcoming novel. If so, I’ll be sure to thank you in my acknowledgments!

 

 

Blaze Starr, One of a Kind Lady

This is not an obituary for Blaze Starr. On June 15, 2015, Fannie Belle Fleming passed away in Wilsondale, West Virginia. Why did the death of Fannie Belle Fleming, aka Blaze Starr, an elderly lady from Wayne County, West Virginia, catch my attention?

I am writing a series of books on the Vietnam Conflict; how and why it started, through how and why it ended. My first book begins just before the escalation of the Vietnam Conflict in early 1963. It focuses on the coup and death of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, followed immediately by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. So what is the connection? While reading DailyMail.com, a headline caught my attention: “Famed burlesque dancer Blaze Starr who said she slept with JFK and whose affair with a Governor was turned into a film starring Paul Newman dies aged 83.”

Fannie Belle Fleming , a buxom, fiery redhead, left her home in West Virginia and traveled to Washington DC seeking work. Soon she became a burlesque dancer (the term of the day for a stripper), using the stage name Blaze Starr, while working in a club in Baltimore, MD. Blaze Starr became famous, or should we say infamous, because of her affair with Louisiana Governor Earl K. Long. There was much more to her story, however. What caught my attention in the title of the article was her claim of having a sexual encounter with John F. Kennedy, before he became President. I investigated further. This was one more woman to add to my research of the late President Kennedy. His affairs with women were much, much more prevalent than I previously thought; ranging from Hollywood stars to foreign harlots.

Some of President Kennedy’s various dalliances caused concern within the FBI and the CIA, as they wondered if he was potentially breaching national security. At some point during my research, I became overwhelmed by Kennedy’s extra-marital relationships. Which of the many affairs should I include in my story, and which should leave out? I didn’t want the focus to be on the President’s flings, but on his role in the Vietnam Conflict. Yet, might one have influenced the other?WP_20150308_001

In my soon-to-be-released historical thriller, I focused on only one of the women; otherwise, the many affairs would have distracted from the plot and objective of my series of books, which is to focus on how Vietnam became a conflict without a focused mission.

According to Blaze Starr, she met Massachusetts Congressman Kennedy in 1954, after he was married to Jacqueline. He liked to frequent her burlesque shows in a Maryland club. Then one night, after her relationship started with Governor Long, he brought Starr to the Roosevelt Hotel. There he introduced John Kennedy and Jacqueline. Both Starr and Kennedy acted as though they had never met. Starr claims that Jacqueline left, and Earl was someplace else when she and Kennedy slipped into a closet and had a quickie. Starr claimed to have several “meet and greets” with John Kennedy; however, the most interesting of their encounters was one that didn’t take place. . . .

Blaze Starr went to the White House in October 1962. She was going to have a liaison with Kennedy in the Lincoln Room, when the Cuban Missile Crisis began. She had to leave before there were any launches. Starr blamed Khrushchev for interrupting her fling!

One important thing was never written about Blaze Starr: she never forgot where she came from or how she grew up. A local West Virginian told me that, on many a Christmas, Starr would return to Southern West Virginia, go to the local hardware store (essentially a general store), buy a pickup truckload of toys, and distribute them to underprivileged children in the area. When Blaze was no longer able to show off her wares, she began a second career as a stonecutter, selling small jewels. When she retired, she returned to the small town in West Virginia where she grew up, which is where she died.

An American Hero – Hershel “Woody” Williams, Medal of Honor Recipient

On April 21, 2015, I had the privilege of attending a reception at the Parkersburg Country Club for retired United States Marine Hershel “Woody” Williams. He was awarded the Medal of Honor on October 5, 1945 by President Harry S. Truman for his heroism during the battle of Iwo Jima. Before giving his little talk, he made himself available for pictures. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to have my picture taken with such a true American hero.

Williams’ heroism stems from the four hours he was personally engaged in battle, attacking and destroying seven different Japanese pillboxes with flamethrowers, on the tiny island of Iwo Jima. In the talk he gave regarding that fateful day, I found most fascinating that he remembered nothing of his activities after agreeing to take the mission from his commanding officer. He knew he was given two Marine snipers and two Marines with machine guns, whose jobs were to fire on the pillboxes while he carried out his attack. Several Marines worked behind him, bringing him flamethrowers, as they would run out of fuel after less than twenty minutes of use, so that he could continue his mission. Still, the man has never had any recollection of his actions during those four hours of battle.Silhouette fedora

What had prompted Williams’ act of heroism, as he said, it was “how dug-in the Japanese were on this island.” When the troops landed, they were sitting ducks for the Japanese forces. The men literally conducted battle planning from inside bomb craters on one of the three runways on the eight-square-mile island. Iwo Jima was the bloodiest battle of World War II in the Pacific. The Japanese had 22,000 men dug in with underground tunnels connecting the positions. The Americans had nothing. The battle raged on for five weeks before the US Marines retook the island, which was crucially strategic in the potential bombing or invading of Japan.

Williams had just taken part in an island fight when they were loaded back on boats to go to Iwo Jima. He said they were told they likely wouldn’t even be getting off the boat. They believed the battle to take the island would take just over three days, or at the most, nine days. Sadly, these Marines had no intelligence on the Japanese positions on Iwo Jima.

Woody Williams’ story begins similar to that of Medal of Honor recipient Audie Murphy; both men were too small by enlistment standards, but found ways around them, so that could serve our country. In July of last year, I wrote a blog article on Audie Murphy, available for you to read at http://www.donkesterson.com/2014/07/04/audie-murphy-world-war-ii-war-hero/.

Williams, who is 92 years young, spoke articulately and with authority, without referring to a single note or using a teleprompter. He said that, until going back to the island last year for a commemoration event, he had never been to the famous Suribachi Memorial, which framed not only the battle for the island, but the battle in the Pacific and the sacrifice of the US Marines. Williams has formed a foundation to help families who have lost loved ones in combat, and you can find out more about it at http://hwwmohfoundation.org/index.html. His foundation represents six core values: courage, sacrifice, patriotism, citizenship, integrity, and commitment. These values are quite fitting, as they are the characteristics this heroic man has exhibited every day of his life.

Video Presentation of Musashi from the M/Y Octopus Exploration Vessel

Last week, on March 13, 2015, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s team produced a video from their M/Y Octopus exploration vessel over the debris field of the battleship Musashi. The video showed the ship had broken apart into two sections, while the debris field was 800 meters long and 500 meters wide. One of their key discoveries was it had the Japanese Emperor’s chrysanthemum seal, which was a sixteen-petal flower. I must say, I watched this film with great enthusiasm, considering that I spent years of research on this topic for my novel series. http://musashi.paulallen.com/

chyrsanthemum

As Allen’s team was videoing the debris field, one of the experts made a comment that astounded me: there are no blueprints, drawings,or other pictorial descriptions of the Musashi still in existence. The experts were identifying items on the Sibuyan Sea floor using drawings from the Musashi’s sister ship, the Yamato, which had a slightly different design. The commentators were able to identify almost all of the various features of this ship, even after it has lain on the ocean for seventy-one years. What they couldn’t immediately identify, these experts were able to surmise after brief conversations—an unbelievable and fantastic discovery!

As I mentioned last week, the Musashi was one of the two largest and most-powerful battleships ever built. The Musashi was sunk in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which was fought between October 23 and October 26, 1944. By the time the Musashi and its sister ship, the Yamato, were launched into the Pacific War, they were already obsolete.

In last week’s blog, I speculated that gold might be found in the hull of the ship. While the ROV (the Octopus vessel’s mini-sub) didn’t go inside the Musashi, I now believe it is highly unlikely that there is any gold on the ship . . . if ever there was. Considering the gigantic battleship broke into two sections separated by this debris field, there didn’t appear to be any evidence of gold.

The ROV was steered remotely from the surface both manually and with a computer to lock it in to help stabilize the video quality. What is phenomenal about that is the ROV was operating in over 4000 feet of water.

The video was of the highest quality; all-digital, high-resolution, with incredible zooming capability. The lighting requirements to make the targets show up were also of the highest quality. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was consulted for a company designing and testing downhole cameras for oil and gas wells that would work under high pressure and high temperature. It was a very expensive, tedious project. Here the design would call for high pressure, but operate in very cold temperatures. The process and testing they must have gone through to get to this level of sophistication must have been significant.Silhouette fedora

At the end of the video presentation, all the ship’s crew stood in a moment of silence honoring the men who had served on the battleship Masashi. This was a class act, especially considering the Musashi was once considered an enemy vessel.

Discovery of the Japanese Battleship Musashi in Leyte Gulf

In this week’s news, there was an announcement that a group of innovated explorers, including Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, discovered the World War II sunken Japanese Battleship Mchyrsanthemumusashi.

Big congratulations are due the innovative team that spent eight years hunting for this sunken battleship in over 4000 feet of water. One of the key markers on this discovery was the Japanese Emperor’s chrysanthemum seal, which is a sixteen-petal flower. Each petal had a special meaning to the Japanese Emperor Hirohito. According to Kazushige Todaka, a Japanese Historian, the chrysanthemum seal was unique to only three warships built by the Japanese during World War II.

The Musashi was one of the two largest, most powerful, battleships ever built. By the time the Musashi and its sister ship, the Yamato, were launched into the Pacific War, they were already obsolete. The Pacific War had quickly evolved into battles between planes launched from aircraft carriers not in sight of one another. In reality, these battleships only represented larger targets for the United States and Australian Fleets to attack. It should be noted that the third ship in this class was a converted aircraft carrier, and not specifically built as a battleship.

These explorers used the M/Y Octopus exploration vessel, in conjunction with historical research provided by four countries, to make this discovery. Additionally, they used some undisclosed “advanced technology” to survey the seabed of the floor of the Sibuyan Sea, which was also a critical factor in this exciting find.

The battleship Musashi was sunk in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which was fought between October 23 and October 26, 1944. It was the largest naval battle of World War II. This proved to be the final blow to the Japanese Navy, thus to the country of Japan’s war effort. The Battle of Leyte Gulf ensured American maritime supremacy in the last months of World War II. The previous destruction of Japanese naval air power in forced the Imperial Navy to prepare for a decisive battle using only surface ships.

To set the stage for this sea battle, on October 20, the US and Australian armies began landing 130,000 troops on Leyte Island. The Japanese plan called for their carriers to decoy Admiral William F. Halsey’s Third Fleet away from the Philippines, allowing Japanese warships to converge on and destroy the American ships supplying the landing for US and Australian armies.

There is one other very significant cost of the loss of the naval battle at Leyte Gulf: it was the fatal blow to the Golden Lily Group. Up until the US and Australian forces landed at Leyte Island, the Japanese were still bringing in vast amounts of gold and treasures into the Philippines. This was the reason the Japanese threw the remainder of their Navy into this battle, to keep these islands and sea lanes in their possession. As late as August 1944, Hirohito and the advisors still believed that, despite the fact that they were clearly losing the War, they could inflict so much damage to the United States troops that they could negotiate a conditional surrender, possibly retaining the Philippines.

Recently when the production company World Media Rights, filmed the Myth Hunter’s documentary “Yamashita’s Gold”, in which I was privileged to be included as one of the expert commentators, they left out some of the tangential facts regarding the Battle of Leyte Gulf. The Golden Lily Group still had tunnels to be engineered, dug and mapped using the Kungi language, in which they buried stolen war gold. These tunnels were subsequently booby trapped and re-buried.Silhouette fedora

The Golden Lily Group had to accelerate their operation at all levels, plus hold the advancing US and Australian armies at bay. Up until the landing of the US and Australian troops, the Japanese were able to methodically bury the gold, currency, and treasures, but as the US and Australian armies begin to retake the Philippine Islands, the Japanese could no longer be as thorough.

It would not come as a surprise to me, giving my years of research on this subject, if a large amount of gold is discovered on this sunken battleship. Why else would you spend eight years and so much money looking for an old sunken battleship?

I’d love to know your thoughts on this fascinating subject. Please continue to subscribe or return to my blog site, as I will continue to provide commentary on this dramatic recovery. Again, I congratulate Mr. Allen and his team for their significant historical find.

 

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/national/us-billionaire-says-wwii-japanese-ship-found-in-philippines/ar-BBicZXJ

 

http://yahoonewsdigest-intl.tumblr.com/post/112687484242/you-found-my-battleship-paul-allens-unlikely-hit

 

Vietnam Conflict’s Turning Point

My research into writing the series of books on the Vietnam Conflict has uncovered many facts that are not taught in school. I grew up while Conflict was building, and I have been interested in Vietnam from the beginning, because it was weaving itself into the very fabric of our society. Then several years ago, I was driving behind a car with a sticker on it that read, “When I Left Vietnam, We Were Winning! This sticker opened my eyes to how our proud servicemen felt who served in that far-away land, despite being sent on a mission without an objective. Those who served honorably and proudly never received their due gratitude from our country.

The year 1963 was the tipping point in the Vietnam Conflict; specifically, the murders of President Diem and President Kennedy. The removal of these two leaders resulted in an acceleration of the conflict. It is not a highly publicized fact, but President Kennedy was against putting large numbers of ground troops in Vietnam. He had wrestled with this decision for the first two years of his administration, while slightly increasing the number of “advisors” in South Vietnam and working with the South Vietnamese Army. The President had several conversations with retired Five Star General Douglas MacArthur, who knew the Pacific and Southeast Asia about as well as anyone alive. MacArthur advised President Kennedy that it was not a war conducive to ground troops. Late in 1963, President Kennedy started decreasing the number of troops in Vietnam. His actions should not be misinterpreted; he believed he could come up with a plan that would meet his objective of winning the Vietnam Conflict. His actions were not well received by the war hawks in his cabinet, at the Pentagon, or in the Military Industrial Complex. Based on the advice of MacArthur and other key advisors, Kennedy believed the conflict could be won by working with the South Vietnamese Army, utilizing Elite Forces’ surgical strikes, in conjunction with air and naval support. Silhouette fedora

The civilian government of South Vietnam at that time was run by President Ngo Dinh Diem. He was an enigma. He was a Catholic in a predominately Buddhist Country. From the beginning, there was almost constant conflict between the president, his family, and the Buddhists. Quickly, these conflicts accelerated to become a huge distraction that took their country’s focus from their real enemies, the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese. To present both sides of the argument, the South Vietnamese Army was not a very good fighting-army, and they were inferior to the Communist North Vietnamese Army, which was trained and funded by the Soviet Union and the Communist Red Chinese.

My first book in the series, PAWNS – MAGIC BULLET, details the murders of Diem and Kennedy, covering how this all played out and not only changed the way the Vietnam Conflict unfolded, but that it was the beginning of the change of an entire society. It is my opinion, based on years of research, that the murders of these two presidents were related. What are your thoughts?

Getting “The Call” – My National Television Debut this Weekend on Myth Hunters: Yamashita’s Gold

In May of 2014, I received an e-mail from a TV director in London enquiring of my knowledge on Japanese General Yamashita and his role in the burial of Gold in the Philippines. The director and the producer had found me through my website, and had read my blogs and my e-book, The President’s Gold. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to help. Soon afterward, the director Skyped me, interviewing me right then for a television documentary role on MythHunters. It was, shall we call it, anxious fun. After our chat, she sent a list of questions for me, stating that if I didn’t already know the answers, to find them! Fortunately, my years of research on the riveting subject prepared me well, as I found the questions easy to answer. Wanting to make certain I didn’t err with this great opportunity, I looked up the answers for confirmation. During our follow-up Skype call, poor internet connection caused problems, so we ended up on the phone. We Skyped just long enough for the producer and the director to see how I might present information for the documentary.Silhouette fedora

When I didn’t hear from either of them for a while, I got nervous. I thought I had not made the cut. Finally, the phone call came, and I ecstatic to learn I was going to be included in their documentary. I flew to New York for an interview, and I spent the night before studying, reviewing, and then studying some more to make certain I felt ready. Despite having a general idea of the questions they might ask, I wanted to come off as natural as possible, without having to refer to my notes.

The first to arrive on location was the camera crew. They quickly set up, then the interview began. Surprisingly, it lasted about an hour and a half. Once completed, they informed me that the story would likely air in the fall of 2014. After the director and producer had moved on, I felt unsure of how the interview had gone. Did I answer their many questions succinctly? Had I stumbled or stuttered? Did I squint beneath the glare of the lights? Did my internal jitters cause me to tremble on the screen? The cameraman told me not to worry, that the producer and director had gotten a lot of good material from me. This put me at ease . . . sort of . . . for a little while.

Fall of 2014 arrived, and I still had not heard a word from the MythHunters crew. Had the documentary been canceled? Had my Q & A ended up on the cutting room floor? On New Year’s Eve (what a perfect way to ring out the old and welcome the new!), I received a phone call from a friend of mine who asked if the preview he’d found online had appeared on TV. I literally jumped out of my chair and ran to my computer, searching until I found the trailer of “Yamashita’s Gold” by MythHunters on the American Heroes Channel. There was my face and my voice, and there was no trembling, no stuttering, and thankfully, no squinting.

Happy New Year to me!

I was—and still am—thrilled beyond words. I am going to be in the MythHunters documentary “Yamashita’s Gold”, talking about a subject I’m passionate about, the history and location of the stolen war loot.

Just this Monday morning, an executive at World Media Rights sent the full documentary to me, along with the exciting news that the American Heroes Channel will air the episode at 1 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2015.

Did you get that? That’s this Sunday, January 11th, at 1:00 pm on the American Heroes Channel! For goodness sake, write it down!

 

Now pop some popcorn, gather the family and the dog, then tune in, and let me know what you think!

 

 

The Day that shouldn’t have Lived in Infamy – December 7, 1941

What is the saying? “Let the truth set you free.” Well, December 7, 1941 should not have played out the way it did, and let me tell you why!

On December 8, President Roosevelt made a speech before Congress that broadcasted over the radio all across the United States, calling the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor a surprise attack and “a dastardly deed,” and the American Public bought it hook, line and sinker. They went from being against the war, as a whole, to being all in, and in a big way.

But here are the real facts.Silhouette fedora

We all know that the Japanese wanted a war against the United States and attacked Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7th. Last year, I wrote a remembrance of this date and the 2,403 sailors and soldiers who died that day as a result of 353 Japanese war planes bombing an “expecting” Pearl Harbor, starting at 7:48 AM Hawaiian time. But now I want to tell you that it didn’t have to happen. Our government set this up to happen for a reason. Let me provide the facts behind that fateful day, and I will let you decide for yourselves.

The United States and Japan had been at odds for more than a year. Behind the scenes, President Roosevelt had been looking for a way to get into World War II, but two things stood in the way. First was the election of 1940, when President Roosevelt campaigned much like one of his heroes, President Wilson, who kept us out of war. Roosevelt had to play to the anti-war crowd to keep his base happy. The anti-war crowd had many Hollywood celebrities and national heroes, including aviator Charles Lindbergh. Once the election was over, Roosevelt went back to work behind the scenes to overcome his second dilemma, the fact that most of the US had no interest in European war, and the American public—for the most part—couldn’t care less about what Japan was doing in Southeast Asia. Roosevelt had to get the public on his side to enter this war.

As early as January 1941, a Peruvian Minister told an American embassy official in Japan that the Japanese were planning an attack on Pearl Harbor. The US embassy in Japan telegrammed this information to the US State Department. Secretary of State Cordell Hull passed the message on to Army Intelligence and the Office of Naval Intelligence. On January 27, the Office of Naval Intelligence advised Kimmel that it “placed no credence” in the rumors that Japan was planning to attack Pearl Harbor. The view of US military intelligence, and of Admiral Kimmel, was that the major threat to the fleet at Pearl Harbor was from local saboteurs—not—from a Japanese military force.

Japan’s next move occurred on March 1941, when they sent a new Consul General, trained spy Takeo Yoshikawa, to Hawaii. Yoshikawa was responsible for gathering information about the movements of American ships. The Office of Naval Intelligence had broken Japanese codes, so the US knew the Japanese had spies in the United States and were aware of many of their plans.

The Roosevelt Administration made their next calculated move: Roosevelt knew the Japanese were willing to do anything to secure crude oil, and when their Axis partner Germany invaded the Soviet Union, the Japanese believed the Soviets would not attack them. As a result, Japan became more brazen in their activity, and in June of 1941,the United States and its Allies placed an embargo on crude oil going to Japan. Since Japan has no crude oil production, they had to rely solely on outsiders to provide it, so this move was really, shall we say, “poking the tiger”. Japan had to find a way to get crude oil to keep their war machine running. They were determined to acquire it, one way or another.

Despite continued peace negotiations between the United States and Japan, the rhetoric was also amped up between the two, predominately over Japan’s aggression against China and others. On Thanksgiving morning, November 27, Roosevelt met with Hull to be fully briefed regarding the Japanese situation and a review of the negotiations with the Japanese. He decided that a war warning should be issued to Panama, San Diego, Honolulu, and Manila. Later that day, Secretary of War Stimson advised of a large Japanese Naval Force sailing from Shanghai. Stimson suggested to Roosevelt that the War Department cable should be sent to Panama, San Diego, Honolulu, and Manila to prepare for war, and Roosevelt agreed. The message to General MacArthur, Supreme Commander of the Pacific Forces, spoke of negotiations with the Japanese appearing to be “terminated to all practical purposes”. It stated:

HOSTILE ACTION POSSIBLE AT ANY MOMENT . . . IF HOSTILITIES CANNOT, REPEAT CANNOT, BE AVOIDED, THE UNITED STATES DESIRES THAT JAPAN COMMIT THE FIRST OVERT ACT. THIS POLICY SHOULD NOT, REPEAT NOT, BE CONSTRUED AS RESTRICTING YOU TO A COURSE OF ACTION THAT MIGHT JEOPARDIZE YOUR DEFENSE.

MacArthur asked for clarification and reported that defense forces were ready. The next day, General “Hap” Arnold, the military commander in Washington, sent orders to MacArthur and to Pearl Harbor to take all necessary steps “to protect your personnel against subversive propaganda, protect all activities against espionage, and protect against sabotage of your equipment, property and establishments.” To this end, aircraft were to be moved together, wing tip to wing tip. Stimson warned of a possible amphibious assault on Manila, or the Thai or Kra Peninsula in Malaya, or maybe even Borneo.

As the Japanese fleet moved into attack position for the Hawaiian Islands, they had to break radio silence briefly, and this enabled US radio direction finders to locate the attack force. Also, both the British Intelligence Code Breakers and the Dutch knew that the Japanese were going to attack Pearl Harbor.

Upon receipt of the war warning in Honolulu, Admiral Kimmel and Lieutenant General Short, planned for the “surprise attack” by moving the United States Navy aircraft carriers out of Pearl Harbor and sent them to the high seas where the Japanese couldn’t find them. Pacific Commander Rear Admiral William F. Halsey then decided to place the most valuable of the remaining ships on the inside of the docks, while the least valuable were put on the outside, in case of a “surprise attack” on the harbor by the Japanese.

On December 6, President Roosevelt composed a last-minute plea for peace to the Emperor. On the same day, a Liaison Conference in Tokyo approved the decision to have Nomura deliver Japan’s final note at 1300 hours the next day, thirty minutes before the scheduled launching of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Thirteen of the fourteen parts of the message were in American hands that night. Unidentified aircraft, presumably Japanese, were observed over Luzon, where by this time, a full air alert was in effect. The troops had already moved into defensive positions along the beaches.

In Tokyo on the evening of December 6, the Navy General Staff sat anxiously awaiting correspondence. They were stunned when the Japanese spy in Honolulu sent the final report stating that Pearl Harbor was full of battleships, but not a single aircraft carrier! This put the Naval Staff into a last minute panic; they believed that there were six carriers in the Pacific. Where were the aircraft carriers? Were they waiting to ambush Admiral Nagumo? When Admiral Yamamoto was advised, he contemplated having Nagumo send out search planes, but was afraid of tipping the location of the attack force. When Admiral Yamamoto decided to notify Admiral Nagumo, he advised him that there were no carriers in Pearl Harbor, and Yamamoto left the final decision to Nagumo. As mad as Nagumo was, he felt he had no choice but to proceed and at least try to sink the battleships.

In Washington, DC, on the morning of December 7, Japanese Ambassador Nomura called Secretary Hull to request a meeting promptly at 1:00 PM local time in Washington, DC. Although the Naval Intelligence code breakers thought otherwise, both Roosevelt and Hull believed that the message from Hirohito/Japan contained the worst—a declaration of war. At that point, Roosevelt elected not to pick up the phone, though he could call any major installation in the Pacific. He and the other advisors ignored their hard intelligence and believed, based on what they knew, that Japan was going to attack Malaysia. Roosevelt knew that all of the US Pacific Stations were at “third alert”, meaning they were expecting sabotage only.

So the Japanese didn’t get the honor of announcing their war plans before the “surprise attack” all as desired by Roosevelt. Now he could call it a dastardly surprise attack and rally the American Public, who never knew the whole story! The government withheld information from the public so it could manipulate them. Wow, what a surprise!

As a final test to your knowledge of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, do you know who fired the first shot?Silhouette fedora

Okay, time’s up… the United States did. The USS Ward sunk a mini-spy sub that had moved into place to assist the war planes with their surprise attack at 6:45 AM.As you can now see, that was one full hour before the first Japanese planes flew over Pearl Harbor.